Hands-on: OUYA unboxing and software review [VIDEO]

After abandoning the OUYA launch party for the pure purpose of getting our OUYA gaming on, we resisted our urge to tear the box in half and performed the obligatory yet often chastized unboxing video. We’ve seen the Dev Console unboxed, but we couldn’t go without an official unboxing of the retail-ready OUYA. It’s built better, more gorgeous, and the first run of consoles features an inscribed list of backers that includes our friends at GameFans.com.

OUYA Unboxing & Game Fans Engraving

After it’s unboxed, you know exactly what’s next – the most fun part – plugging her in and checking out the software and games!

OUYA Software Tour

When the OUYA boots up, you’re met with an attractive screen, OUYA animation, and an almost tribal-like “Ooooh Yuuuhhh!” chant. Smart move considering the pronunciation of the console is a much debated topic among those who have yet to hear it officially pronounced. Before you know it, you’re flung into the software menu and ready to explore:

If you’ve got dodgy Wi-Fi, the initial setup process might hit some snags. And be patient with the bluetooth pairing of controllers as it takes a bit to connect. But once you’re in the system, the menus are straight forward and elegant, providing a very nice user experience.

The menu is broken down into 4 sections:

  1. Play – this is where your downloaded games appear
  2. Discover – this is the store where you can find featured games, browse by categories, and spot up and coming developers in the sandbox
  3. Build – this is not only for app developers publishing on OUYA, but also includes a “Software” section where you can access the web browser and use a file manager to install apps by sideloading.
  4. Manage – you guessed it… settings and other clerical stuffs.

I’m mostly impressed with the software flow although I do have a few minor complaints. It would be nice to actually select thumbnails from each game listing and view them on the larger screen at full resolution. While you can “thumbs up” a game, I’d love to see more social interaction brought to the OUYA so I can see which of my friends like certain games or even see suggested games based on what other similar users have downloaded. I assume these will come down the road, once OUYA is a bit more stable and data mining/analysis can support related decisions. It makes sense, especially given their strict launch schedule, that they focused the vast majority of their time and energy on the core gaming experience.

It will be interesting to see what direction OUYA take their discovery system. Developers have already complained about the Sandbox, which is essentially a purgatory where every app goes when submitted, until they prove themselves as a viable top-rated option. The games are then broken down into some obvious categories like “Featured” and “Genre” but the genres themselves seem to overlap a bit as do the games. And there are some secondary sections that are very specifically themed that I assume rotate. We’ll see how all of this develops as the OUYA team collects and implements feedback.

We dicuss some of the more finicky details of the OUYA software on our OUYA Forums, but for the tl;dr, the OUYA provides a great experience out of the box but also has a lot of room for improvement and growth. Definitely not a bad position to be in for a console that launched one day ago.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/TXTardis Paul Sargeant

    Oh my god the focus on these videos lately

    • KosmoCrisis

      Beverages with a certain effect may or may not have played a part in Chris’ inability to hold the focus. Lol. My Diet Coke was delicious.

  • Jack Parker

    Cant wait to get the Ouya! and tbh, ill only use it for emulators like PS1 N64 and Gamyboy.. just having it on the Big screen :D

  • Unorthodox

    The retail version is soo much better looking than ugly clear-plastic. I’m buying it now!

  • ari_free

    It’s good that they’ve finally delivered on a working product. You take it for granted from a Sony or Nintendo but this is a startup company that was funded by kickstarter so you never know what to expect.

    • Adam75

      Not sure if it was intentional but you make it sound like they are late delivering it. They hit their target delivery date perfectly, as stated on day 1 of the Kickstarter. It’s impressive really that they went from a product that people weren’t even sure they would be able to deliver at all to delivering a final product exactly when they said they would. Props. It’ll be replacing my Google TV once XBMC is ready to go.

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        Not only that, OUYA is barely a 20-man team and they STILL managed to pull all that off. Major props. We’ll have to see where they go from here, but I’m rooting for them.

      • ari_free

        Right, that was my point…I think. Some people are putting so many conditions for its success and that if it doesn’t compete with the xbox 720 then it must be a fail. No, this is a dream that a bunch of kickstarter fans wanted to see happen and Ouya and Kickstarter made it happen for them.

  • Fahim Yaqoob

    excellent image quality. for a second i thought i was still in the dial up days, with the image loading slowly

  • HotInEER

    Still trying to decide if I want to buy this.

  • Fahim Yaqoob

    we need a steam app like the nvidia sheld. it would make it so much better

    • Alm0s

      You probably meant stream, but Steam would be great too. :D

  • Rich Stemm

    Kind of an ugly/choppy interface relative to the GameStick’s.

    • Blah Blah Blah

      I wonder if we can flash custom ROMs like we can on android phones, it would be interesting to see this thing tweaked.